SEATTLE (AP) — Mike Zunino homered twice in his first game of the season, Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith both hit three-run home runs, and the Seattle Mariners slugged past the Baltimore Orioles 12-6 on Saturday night.
Adam Lind had four hits including a solo homer as the Mariners won for the sixth time in eight games and took their third straight from the AL East leading Orioles.
Cruz staked Seattle to a 3-0 lead with his 21st homer of the season in the first inning off Baltimore starter Tyler Wilson (4-6) and Zunino extended it to 5-0 in the second on a two-run shot in his first at-bat of the season after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma earlier this week.
Smith ended Wilson's night with a three-run shot in the fourth, getting the green light on a 3-0 pitch for his ninth homer of the season. It was Smith's third straight game with a home run and he finished with four RBIs.
Zunino, a former first-round pick by the Mariners, was rushed to the majors early in his career and his hitting suffered, bottoming out last year when he hit .174 in 112 games. Seattle spent the offseason retooling Zunino's approach at the plate, but the goal was to keep him at Triple-A for most of the season.
When backup catcher Steve Clevenger suffered a broken bone in his hand earlier this week, a move needed to be made and Zunino was the obvious choice. He lined a 1-2 curveball from Wilson out in the second inning then drove the first pitch from reliever Mychal Givens in the sixth.
Cruz's homer was estimated at 459 feet and landed above the bullpens in deep left-center and the five home runs helped Seattle move into second in the majors with 122, trailing only Baltimore.
The offensive outburst gave leeway for Seattle starter James Paxton when he struggled in the later innings. Paxton (2-3) was dominant for four innings, but couldn't make it out of the sixth after allowing five base runners in the inning. Tom Wilhelmsen got a pop out from Adam Jones with the bases loaded to escape the sixth.
Chris Davis had three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Nathan Karns.
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